Insig Regulates HMG-CoA Reductase by Controlling Enzyme Phosphorylation in Fission Yeast

John S. Burg, David W. Powell, Raymond Chai, Adam L. Hughes, Andrew J. Link, Peter J. Espenshade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Insig functions as a central regulator of cellular cholesterol homeostasis by controlling activity of HMG-CoA reductase (HMGR) in cholesterol synthesis. Insig both accelerates the degradation of HMGR and suppresses HMGR transcription through the SREBP-Scap pathway. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe encodes homologs of Insig, HMGR, SREBP, and Scap, called ins1+, hmg1+, sre1+, and scp1+. Here, we characterize fission yeast Insig and demonstrate that Ins1 is dedicated to regulation of Hmg1, but not the Sre1-Scp1 pathway. Using a sterol-sensing domain mutant of Hmg1, we demonstrate that Ins1 binding to Hmg1 inhibits enzyme activity by promoting phosphorylation of the Hmg1 active site, which increases the KM for NADPH. Ins1-dependent phosphorylation of Hmg1 requires the MAP kinase Sty1/Spc1, and Hmg1 phosphorylation is physiologically regulated by nutrient stress. Thus, in fission yeast, Insig regulates sterol synthesis by a different mechanism than in mammalian cells, controlling HMGR phosphorylation in response to nutrient supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-531
Number of pages10
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes




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